Published: 2020-10-17 06:27:00
Updated: 2020-10-30 04:39:41
By WRAL Severe Weather team
Raleigh, N.C. — It was an active Thursday of weather with the remnants of Zeta passing through in the afternoon before a front brought severe weather to some parts of North Carolina, including the WRAL viewing area, Thursday night.
Zeta brought wind gusts as high as 60 mph in Durham Thursday afternoon. By 5 p.m., Zeta's winds had died down a bit, with wind speed of around 32 in Raleigh. More than 60,000 Duke Energy customers were without power at around noon across central North Carolina, with most outages restored by Friday morning.
Once the winds from Zeta died down, many parts of North Carolina had to contend with some strong thunderstorms as a front moved through the state. Tornado warnings were issued at one point Thursday for Alamance and Caldwell counties.
The severe weather moved toward the eastern part of the state overnight and eventually off the coast.
Multiple businesses at the shopping center at High House Rd. and Hwy. 55 were closed due to power outages.
The Lidl's and the Han-Dee Hugo's both had signs on their windows and doors to tell customers they were closed due to their systems being down.
Zeta's center of circulation was over northwestern North Carolina at 11 a.m. The strongest wind gust reported in the state was in Durham, at 56 mph.
53 mph wind gusts were reported in Charlotte. Pope Airfield, near Fort Bragg, reported a 52 mph wind gust at around noon on Thursday.
"We don't normally see storms like this move so fast," Gardner said.
Trees were reported down in Chapel Hill, Durham, Hillsborough and Cary. Traffic lights were out at Cary at Green Level Church Road and Interstate 540 from storm damage. Is there a downed tree or storm damage in your area? Send us a photo.
Duke Energy officials said that they can't restore power with winds this high and are asking for customers to hang tight.
Duke Energy says nearly 60,000 customers in the state lacked power by mid-Thursday.
If a tree has fallen on a power line in your area, you may want to call your local authorities.
The town of Hillsborough is advising residents to stay indoors until the strong winds have passed. A large tree fell on Mitchell Street between East Queen and Cain Streets, officials said. The road will be closed until crews can remove the tree on Friday.
Viewers across the Triangle have sent photos of fallen trees and power lines.
The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning until Thursday evening for much of the viewing area, including: Wake, Durham, Chatham, Orange, Person, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Halifax, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Montgomery, Alamance, Moore, Nash, Randolph, Stanly, Vance, Warren and Wilson counties.
Zeta is also producing scattered rain, especially north of Interstate 95, and severe storms are possible in the Triangle between 9 p.m. and midnight. The viewing area is under a level 1 risk for severe weather, with wind damage the biggest threat.
According to Gardner, because Zeta is moving very quickly, it should not drop much rain in the state. Less than half an inch is expected in the Triangle, with as much as 1 inch of rain possible closer to the Virginia line.
Zeta made landfall in southeastern Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane Wednesday evening before weakening to a tropical storm. A 91 mph wind gust blew through Mobile, Alabama, and a NOAA gauge reported a 10-foot storm surge in Mississippi.
The storm killed at least three people, a 55-year-old man who a Louisiana coroner said was electrocuted by a downed power line in New Orleans, and a man who was crushed by a tree in Georgia.